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  • Caregiver group looking for male volunteers

    “I’m getting more out of this than I am giving,” admitted Jim Plakos of Nevada City, a Volunteer Care Specialist for One Source-Empowering Caregivers (OSEC) of Grass Valley.

    As one of only two male Volunteer Care Specialists in the OSEC’s caregiver respite service, Plakos is calling on men to take the next free Volunteer Care Specialist training on May 19, May 26 and June 2.

    Why men?

    Because more than half of Nevada County home-care recipients are men, while 83 percent of their 24/7 caregivers are women. Furthermore, 90 percent of OSEC’s Volunteer Care Specialists are also women, according to Donna Raibley, executive director OSEC.

    Although the nonprofit OSEC program is designed to give 24/7 in-home caregivers in Nevada County up to four hours of free relief a week, Plakos said the real satisfaction for him is the time he “connects” with a care recipient.

    “To have a man-to-man conversation, to be with someone who doesn’t have much time” profoundly affected him, Plakos said of a recently passed care recipient.

    His caregiver widow told him her husband really enjoyed Plakos’ visits while she was taking much-needed time for herself. And making him happy made her happy, he said.

    “We get so many requests for men,” said Harriet Totten, OSEC volunteer coordinator.

    “Of course, we need women too,” she added.

    The next Volunteer Care Specialist training is scheduled for three Saturdays, May 19, 26 and June 2 at OSEC’s offices at 563 Brunswick Road, Suite 11, Grass Valley. 

    The training is free with a continental breakfast and lunch each day. It is also intensive, thorough and fun, Raibley said.

    “I thought the training was wonderful,” Plakos agreed.

    Male or female, “we need volunteers now,” Totten stressed. “We have a waiting list of caregivers.”

    Because of the need for trust, safety and privacy, volunteers undergo a background check and health screening. Therefore, prospective volunteers are asked to apply in advance and in person, according to Raibley and Totten.

    To make an appointment, call Donna Raibley at 530-205-9514, 530-802-6154 or email 


    “Men, your service is absolutely needed,” Plakos stated. “You’ll get more out of it than you give.”

    About the photo:

    OSEC Volunteer Coordinator Harriet Totten reviews the training manual with Volunteer Care Specialist Jim Plakos.